Occidental Mindoro Travel Guide

Overview of Occidental Mindoro

The Spanish missionaries established Mindoro, the seventh-largest island in the Philippines. The province is bordered on the east by the province of Oriental Mindoro, and on the south by the Mindoro Strait. The South China Sea is to the west of the province and Palawan is located to the southwest, across the Mindoro Strait. Batangas is to the north, separated by the Verde Island Passage, a protected marine area and the center of the center of the world's marine biodiversity.

Where to Go

Apo Reef Natural Park

Discover the underwater wonders of Apo Reef, one of the world's best-known diving and snorkeling sites. This marine sanctuary is renowned for its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life.

Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park

Ideal for nature enthusiasts, this national park is home to the critically endangered Tamaraw, a species of buffalo found only in the Philippines. Trekking trails lead through lush landscapes and offer a chance to spot unique flora and fauna.

Mamburao Beach

Relax on the shores of Mamburao Beach, a serene coastal area with golden sands and clear waters. It's a perfect spot for unwinding and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

Ambulong Island

Explore Ambulong Island, known for its white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. It's an excellent destination for swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking.

Paluan Mangrove Eco-Park

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at Paluan Mangrove Eco-Park. Take a boat ride through the mangrove forests, spot various bird species, and appreciate the ecological importance of mangroves.

St. Joseph Cathedral

Visit the St. Joseph Cathedral in Mamburao, an architectural gem with a rich history. The cathedral's design and cultural significance make it a worthwhile stop for history and architecture enthusiasts.

Sablayan Zipline and Adventure Park

For thrill-seekers, the Sablayan Zipline offers an exhilarating experience with panoramic views of the Mindoro Strait. The adventure park also features other exciting activities.

Lubang Island

Accessible by ferry, Lubang Island offers beautiful beaches, historical sites, and natural attractions. Don't miss the chance to explore the Spanish-era Ambulong Fort and Tanghalan Beach.

What to Do

Diving and Snorkeling at Apo Reef

Explore the vibrant underwater world of Apo Reef, a renowned marine sanctuary. Dive or snorkel to witness colorful coral formations and diverse marine life.

Trekking in Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park

Embark on a trek through Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park for a chance to see the critically endangered Tamaraw and enjoy the park's lush landscapes.

Beach Relaxation at Mamburao Beach

Unwind on the golden sands of Mamburao Beach, offering a tranquil setting for beach lovers to enjoy the sun and sea.

Island Hopping at Ambulong Island

Discover Ambulong Island's pristine beaches and clear waters through island hopping. Snorkel, swim, and enjoy a relaxing day in this tropical paradise.

Explore Lubang Island

Take a ferry to Lubang Island and explore its beautiful beaches, historical sites like Ambulong Fort, and enjoy the laid-back island atmosphere.

Paluan Mangrove Eco-Park Adventure

Experience the beauty of Paluan Mangrove Eco-Park with a boat ride through mangrove forests. Birdwatching and appreciating the ecological significance of mangroves are among the activities.

Cultural Visit to St. Joseph Cathedral

Visit St. Joseph Cathedral in Mamburao to admire its architectural beauty and learn about the cathedral's cultural and historical significance.

Thrills at Sablayan Zipline and Adventure Park

Enjoy an adrenaline rush at Sablayan Zipline and Adventure Park, featuring a thrilling zipline and other exciting activities.

Nature Exploration at Mindoro Wildlife Sanctuary

Discover the rich biodiversity at Mindoro Wildlife Sanctuary, a haven for nature enthusiasts where you can observe various flora and fauna.

Relaxing Day at Pandan Grande Beach

Spend a leisurely day at Pandan Grande Beach, known for its calm waters and peaceful ambiance, providing an ideal spot for relaxation.

When is the Best Time to Visit Occidental Mindoro

The optimal time to visit Occidental Mindoro is during the dry season, which typically extends from November to April. During these months, the weather is characterized by clear skies and minimal rainfall, creating ideal conditions for outdoor activities and exploration. This is the perfect time to enjoy the province's stunning beaches, embark on nature treks, and partake in water-based adventures such as snorkeling and diving.

Occidental Mindoro experiences the wet season from May to October, characterised by increased rainfall and occasional tropical storms. While the wet season brings lush greenery to the landscapes, it can also result in challenging travel conditions, with some activities potentially affected by rain.

How to Get to

By Air

The most common way to reach Occidental Mindoro by air is through San Jose Airport (SJI), which serves as the primary gateway to the province. Several airlines operate flights from Manila to San Jose Airport. The flight provides a convenient and relatively quick option for travelers looking to reach Occidental Mindoro.

By Sea

For those who prefer a maritime journey, there are ferry services connecting Batangas Port to Abra de Ilog Port in Occidental Mindoro. The ferry ride offers scenic views of the sea and surrounding landscapes. Upon arrival in Abra de Ilog, various local transportation options such as buses, vans, or jeepneys are available for further travel within the province.

By Car / Bus

If you prefer overland travel, you can take a bus or drive from Manila to Batangas Pier, where you can board a ferry bound for Abra de Ilog. Alternatively, there are direct bus services from Manila to Occidental Mindoro, including routes to San Jose and other towns. The road journey allows you to enjoy the scenic landscapes of Southern Luzon on your way to the province.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

Occidental Mindoro may not have an extensive network of ride-sharing services or formal taxi systems, but tricycles and jeepneys are common modes of local transportation. Tricycles, in particular, serve as a flexible and affordable option for short-distance travel within towns and barangays. In major towns, you may find a few local taxi services.

By Car / Motorcycle

Renting a car or motorcycle is a convenient option for travelers looking for more independence and flexibility. Car rental services are available in major towns, and you can explore the province at your own pace.

Motorcycles, often referred to as "habal-habal," are also available for hire and are suitable for shorter journeys or reaching more remote areas. Ensure you have a valid driver's license and follow local traffic regulations when driving in Occidental Mindoro.

What to Eat

Occidental Mindoro offers a diverse range of dining options that cater to various budgets and preferences, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Local Food

Occidental Mindoro boasts a rich array of local dishes that showcase the province's culinary heritage. Here are some of the notable restaurants such as Maru's Food Lounge, Rotonda Fab Cafe, Ian Jole's Camalig Restaurant and Nap's Restaurant & Bar.

Fresh Seafood

Occidental Mindoro, being a coastal province, features a rich abundance of fresh seafood. Explore the local culinary scene and discover the province's maritime flavours in various notable restaurants such as Kamayan sa Palaisdaan Seafood & Grill, Hungry Tuna Grill & Sizzling House and Dampaan Seafood Grill & Restaurant.

Western Food

In Occidental Mindoro, several restaurants offer a delectable array of Western cuisine, providing a delightful contrast to the local flavours. Establishments like Nor's Chicken House and Restaurant, Kusina ni Pedro, and Loli's.

What to Buy

In Occidental Mindoro, explore local markets for unique handicrafts, including intricate artisan products. Bring home a taste of the region with locally produced lambanog and flavourful cashew nuts. These distinctive souvenirs capture the essence of Occidental Mindoro's cultural and natural richness.

Where to Stay

Discover a range of accommodation options in Occidental Mindoro, providing choices for every traveler's preferences. Whether you seek the tranquility of beachfront resorts, the convenience of hotels in town centers, or the charm of boutique guesthouses, Occidental Mindoro offers diverse lodging experiences.

Explore popular areas like San Jose or Sablayan for a mix of accommodations, ranging from budget-friendly to more upscale choices. Beachside resorts in scenic locations such as Pandan Island or White Beach in San Jose provide a serene escape. Camping enthusiasts can also find campsites, especially in natural and eco-friendly settings. With a variety of options, Occidental Mindoro ensures a comfortable and memorable stay for all.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

When packing for Occidental Mindoro, it's recommended to consider the tropical climate and the various activities you may engage in. Light and breathable clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, and sundresses are suitable for the warm weather. Pack swimwear for beach outings and comfortable sandals or flip-flops. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are essential for sun protection.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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